The Indiana attorney general's office learned of the remarks posted by Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox in a story published online Wednesday by liberal non-profit news magazine Mother Jones, The Indianapolis Star reported.
In response to a Mother Jones tweet that riot police had been ordered to remove union supporters from the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Cox allegedly tweeted "use live ammunition."
Mother Jones reporter Adam Weinstein said he confronted Cox on Twitter.
"He tweeted back that the demonstrators were 'political enemies' and 'thugs' who were 'physically threatening legally elected officials,'" Weinstein wrote in the Wednesday article. "In response to such behavior, he said, 'You're damned right I advocate deadly force.' He later called me a 'typical leftist,' adding, 'Liberals hate police.'"
In a statement released late Wednesday, Cox said the post was not meant to be taken literally, "and I don't think any reasonable person would conclude otherwise."
A spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said it's the first time the office has terminated anyone over social media use.
Cox had been a deputy attorney general since October 2003, one of more than 140 attorneys in the office.